The Second Part



Gospherus arrives in a suburban neighbourhood. He wears a short-sleeved dress shirt and a tie, knee-length black shorts and high-tops with black socks. He's carrying his earthly possessions in a red wagon which has broken its handle, so he pulls it with a yellow rope. He carries his cactus in his other hand. His cactus is very important to him.

He pulls his shorts up too high.

The kids laugh at him. They think he's funny. The mums and dads aren't so sure. They recall the last strange man who wandered into their suburban neighbourhood. He dressed like a clown and danced and played the pan pipes and led the children onto the heath. A posse of parents stopped him before he did bad things. No one ever saw the clown again.

But here comes Gospherus and his cactus.

The littlest ones are playing a game they call Meanie on the Mountain. It's basically King of the Castle. The Meanie wears a shirt bearing the image of some sort of alligator lizard creature with a curved smile and cruel eyes. When he pushes the other kids off the Mountain or they fail to push him off his Mountain, he laughs, a weird maniacal giggle. He sounds like the love child of the villain from a Victorian melodrama and Michael Jackson.

"Why are you carrying that plant?" asks little Audrey.

"It's my cactus," says Gospherus. "I love my cactus."

Curtains rustle. Concerned parents look out their windows.

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